MTK Chowder House (at American Trash) | 1471 1st Ave. (bet. 76th & 77th Sts.) | 212.988.7458 | | |

SOMEONE IS LOOKING out for me. Or at least rewarding me for my PHUDE efforts and contributions. I say this because I am receiving much good fortune from the foodie universe, right here in geographically convenient Yorkville here on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

First, Cascabel Taqueria opened last fall, bringing upscale yet affordable Mexican cuisine well beyond the mediocrity of the many hole-in-the-wall takeout places who have been serving the neighborhood's young, poor, and/or hungover. Then Luke's Lobster opened a second post of their Maine-traceable lobster rolls half a block away from Cascabel.

Yorkville then got it's own Shake Shack, Papaya King is renovating for a relaunch, Balon started serving fully-realized, delicious meals, upping the already popular cache of the area's only successful wine bar.

Then, Cascabel's success has forced it to move into a bigger space and the end of the same block, and, in what will be its former space, is planning to open a legit and authentic dim sum joint, saving us all from having to go to Chinatown.

Then American Trash did something unexpected. The biker-themed, countrified bar just weeks ago decided to run a New England-themed menu out of a small kitchen, pumping out chowders, fried Ipswich full belly clams, fish and chips, and lobster rolls, all under the name of MTK Chowder House.

Yes, not one but two, lobster roll places within a five minute walk from my apartment! And seeing how much I enjoyed my first meal of those clams—and a Pat Lafrieda burger!—I could only look forward to stopping back in a week later, bumping into friend, Leif, who was coolly sipping Guinnesses, and catching up with Ray, a customer, and Kira, the bartender.

I've been a little apprehensive about trying a new lobster roll, having less than a year ago discovering my recent favorite, and thought for a second that I should hold off on the lobster roll and instead try a hot dog, or maybe some of the fried chicken also on the menu. Mark, the co-owner/head chef convinced me to stop procrastinating and prepared for me a beautiful specimen of a sandwich teeming with lobster claw and tail meat.

This lobster roll is likewise outstanding, the variety of lobster meat parts having their own unique tastes of the ocean and their slightly different textures, but tender in their firmness and full of flavor that shown brightly through slight mayo and marginal seasoning mostly made up of a variety of salts, making it taste even more "ocean-fresh".

Both MTK and Luke's have awesome lobster rolls, and you would be a fool to deny yourself either one. Where MTK has the advantage, for me personally, is the menu's much broader variety; I can have a lobster roll one day, a bratwurst the next, a double cheeseburger the day after and a shrimp salad for my date. And although Luke's is fighting diligently to get their liquor license to sell beer, I can enjoy any number of beers (including PBR in a can), cocktails, or shots, tastier when their discounted during happy hour (read, my new dinner time!).

My friend Leif took upon himself to order a hamburger, whick he loved, and an order of fried pickles, which were a perfect cornmeal-based crunchy on the outside and a bright, snappy tart and sweet pickle slice inside.

People are quickly catching on and I expect soon, there might be lines of eat-in diners, takeout orders, and deliveries, an it couldn't happen to a better bar. And Yorkville having yet another dining advantage to offer its budding local foodies couldn't have happened to a better person. Namely, me...! ;)

Bun Apple Tea!


MTK Chowder House (at American Trash) on Urbanspoon

MTK Chowder House (at American Trash) | 1471 1st Ave. (bet. 76th & 77th Sts.) | 212.988.7458 | | |